Can Someone With Bollywood Knowledge Please Tell Me WTF’s Going On Here?

I miss Nami and Janhavi. They used to drag me to their houses to watch Bollywood films. I’d sit there watching people in very colorful costumes swirl around, and I’d listen to some very energetic songs, and be thoroughly mystified as to what was happening and why my friends were laughing their asses off. But then they’d pause the video and explain. For a few minutes, at least, I’d be able to vaguely follow the action, until it all got away from me again and I was left sitting like an ignorant lump until next they paused to enlighten me. One thing was for sure: anything I ever wanted or needed to know about Bollywood movies, I only needed to ask them.

But we’ve lost touch. And I haven’t many friends now who are in to Bollywood. And I haven’t been able to catch my friend R, who is a fan, outside of work for a while. So this video has thoroughly flummoxed me.

I know this must be several scenes from a film, but I haven’t the foggiest which film. I know there was a battle, and that was obviously Kali collecting blood in a bowl (hi, Kali! You’ll always be one of my favorite goddesses). I think the young dude looking on like a derp might be Krishna. And I know whoever the big brute at the end is got subjected to a mighty lecture before being finished off by the main goddess there. Outside of that, I can’t puzzle it out. I don’t know what events led to this, or what the lecture was about, or who everybody was. I have no idea if the song at all matches the clip. And I’m not sure why I’m intrigued, but I am.

So if any of you are Bollywood fans and can step in to take up Nami and Janhavi’s movie-‘splaining role, I’d love that very much. Also, you could, if you like, educate me as to your favorite films. Especially really good musicals.

Thank you, my darlings!


Goddess going after a god with a trident. I don't know who she is, but I bloody love her style.
Goddess going after a god with a trident. I don’t know who she is, but I bloody love her style.
Can Someone With Bollywood Knowledge Please Tell Me WTF’s Going On Here?

14 thoughts on “Can Someone With Bollywood Knowledge Please Tell Me WTF’s Going On Here?

  1. 1

    Not a Bollywood expert, but I’ll take a few guesses.

    Some Hindu traditions regard the goddesses more highly than the gods: the creator deity is Adi Parashakti, the Supreme Goddess, other goddesses are her aspects, and these goddesses are the source for gods. I’m guessing the clip is related to one of those traditions.

    I think the goddess on the lion with the trident and lots of arms is Durga. The one with the skull necklace is clearly Kali. Both are aspects of Adi Parashakti; there were probably a few others in cameos there too. The guys who mostly just stand around looking shocked are, I think, various aspects of Vishnu; not sure which is which but I think the guy with the bow is Rama. The other one could be Krishna, but Krishna is traditionally depicted with blue skin so I’m not sure.

    Not sure either who the god with the horned helmet is supposed to be; maybe Rudra? The arrows and various animal forms are associated with him but I don’t think he’s traditionally depicted with that kind of helmet.

    Either way, Hindus have some kickass goddesses. If you’ve gotta have one, you could do a lot worse than that.

  2. rq

    The guy with the bow would be Rama, but both Rama and Krishna are incarnations of Vishnu, according to a reliable source. And yes, Vishnu usually gets the blue-skin treatment, regardless of current avatar.
    That’s as much as I can get off the top of my head, I’ll actually take a look at the video at home and maybe I’ll come up with more theories.

  3. 5

    There’s more than one thing going on, it seems. I’m not super-familiar with Hindu stories but the video seems to be about Parvati. The first part of the video, up to about 6:30 is her in her Dakshina Kali aspect. She’s riding the lion — definitely Parvati — and then… all that other stuff. And then I get lost because I’m not familiar enough with it. But I am going with Parvati.

  4. 6

    Not a Bollywood expert, here, but I enjoy reading mythology, including Hindu mythology, which is a huge, fascinating domain in and of itself. After following the Durga link given by Petteri Sulonen, I agree that we can identify the story as part of the Adi Patashakti tradition, with Durga and Kali as aspects of the ultimate Devi, or Goddess.

    More specifically, I think what we have here is a film or tv adaptation of the Devi Mahatmya, a Hindu text recounting the victory of Durga-cum-Kali over the demons Mahishasura (the one that can change into a bull, and is vanquished by the goddess and her lion) and Raktabija. This one can make a new demon spring from the ground with each drop of his blood when he is hurt in battle, which is why Durga creates (or changes into) Kali, the dark and bloodthirsty one. Kali drinks the blood of the demons (we can see her with a wide open mouth and her tongue red with blood) she kills, and triumphs. But she’s drunk with the blood now, and kills everything in sight. To get her out of this transe, the god Shiva, her consort, lays down on her path, and when she puts her feet upon him, Kali is cured.

    By the way, Shiva must also be the one looking upon while Durga battles the bull-demon. He’s her husband too, and is recognized by the three white lines painted on his forehead. We also see him a few times with his attributes: snake on the shoulder, moon crescent, etc.

    We see other gods looking on with sad faces, including probably Vishnu (blue-collarskinned), because in this cycle of Hindu myths, the male gods have been dethroned by the Asuras (demons) and only the great goddess Durga, with the strength that comes from the combined wrath of all gods and goddesses, can defeat the forces of chaos and evil.

    As I said, fascinating, but please don’t take my little account for the final word here! I’m no expert. Maybe Avicenna of A.Million Gods will stop by and help us? ;-)

  5. 7

    Not sure what movie but the story is about the Goddess Durga slaying Mahishasura (asura means demon and mahi loosely translated means great – so great demon).

    Short version of the plot –

    Mahishasura was a beast with the head of a buffalo and the body of a human. He got a lot of power granted due to his father (a king of demons mating with a princess who had been cursed and had to live as a buffalo -long story)

    Mahishasura had been granted a wish that he could not be slayed by either animals, men or Gods. Can you spot the loophole?

    Since he was invincible, he started a reign of terror and conquest of the three worlds. Slaying and killing mercilessly, he and his army of demons soon conquered earth, and set their eyes upon the heavens. The minor Gods run to Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva for help and they create Durga to kill Mahishasura. Yup. He is not protected against women and so ensues a ferocious battle at the end of which Durga pierces his chest with her trishul (tridant) and swiftly beheades Mahishasura with her sword, liberating both man and Gods from the terrible demon and restoring peace and balance to the worlds.

    Hope this helps.

  6. 8

    One more comment – The song itself is known as Mahishasura Mardini, ( the Slayer of Mahisha – another name for Mahishasura. Fun fact – In the movie Life of Pi, the Bengal tiger is called Mahisha.)

    The Mahishasura Mardini is much beloved by all Hindus for its beautiful rhythm and meaning. The clip above has bollywooded the song a little but the actual rendition is far more beautiful and moving.

    Over and out.

  7. rq

    Interesting. That ‘animals, men and gods’ loophole (leaving things wide open for women) idea seems to show up rather commonly in myths and stories (see: Lord of the Rings, among others, and Bill Shakespeare has a variant that leaves at least a few men inside the loophole – see: Macbeth).

  8. 11

    It’s Mahisashura Mardhini – A common prayer in Hinduism. It is the story of an Asura who cannot be killed because his power is that for every drop of his own blood that falls, he will regenerate. So Kali just drinks the blood. Problem solved….

    The show is probably one of those Indian soap operas that retell famous Hindu soap operas rather than a movie. The music matches since it’s the same story.

    She is a goddess of “berserk” and any such god of berserk (Such as Dionysius or Bacchus who are also gods of madness) needs a control. Hers is her husband. After she went crazy he stops her and horrified by thinking she bites her tongue (A sign of making a mistake in Hinduism. to bite one’s tongue is to realise you made a boo boo)

    These are two separate Parvathi stories. The “supreme goddess” is a misnomer. The 3 major gods of Hinduism have wives who are in charge of things needed to be the respective gods. The creator has knowledge as his wife, the preserver has wealth and the destroyer has destruction.

    Parvathi is the normally demure form of Destruction. But her avatars are Durga and Kali. She also has a third less spoken about Avatar called Sati and we know the reason for that one.. The first is the story of Kali (the order should be mixed up, the second story should come first). Kali was created to fight an Asura whose power above the standard powers was that every time he was killed he would spring anew from the droplets of his blood. So he was killable but every time you killed him he would regenerate and come back with some friends. So people who opposed him helped create an army. So Durga drank his blood and in doing so became the berserker Kali who could not tell friend from foe. She is the epitome of destruction, a mindless beast with the personality of an atomic bomb and the capacity to differentiate friend and foe of one too. However when her husband tried to reason with she knocks him to the floor and finally comes to her senses.

    The second story is the mahisashura mardhina story. Hindu “symbols of valour” are different to western ones. Eagles, Tigers yes… but Monkeys, Snakes, Peacocks and indeed the Buffalo are present. Remember the killer of tigers are not elephants but an animal with a terrible temper, huge horns, and backed up by a couple of dozen of his mates. The buffalo.

    Hence the horns. Now no man could beat him and no weapon could harm him.

    Durga is not the goddess of war, she is the goddess of weaponry.

    Every weapon in her hands is a donation, a weapon of a god. The most recognised ones are the trident of Shiva and Discus of VIshnu (Since the rest of the HIndu gods have little to no special looking weapons). Some of the weapons are esoteric. Brahma gives her a lotus (a symbol of knowledge and wisdom). She rides on a tiger or a lion depending on telling (Since Indian lions are a sickly bunch that are dying out and Tigers aren’t much healthier anyways)

    So the idea is that a woman and many weapons should be able to wound him enough to make him panic into thinking that his weakness was “a woman armed with many weapons”.

    Mahisha means Bufffalo, his power is to turn into a demonic gigantic buffalo. The real killer is not the weaponry but the damn tiger…

    That was the trick, to make him forget about the tiger and assume his buffalo form to escape from her and then get whacked by the thing that eats buffaloes.

  9. 12

    This reply is based only on some sleuthing around YouTube and beyone. I could easily have something wrong.

    That said, the show seems to be called Devon Ke Dev…Mahadev, and has been running for a couple of years now on an Indian TV cable and satellite channel called “Life OK”. It is apparently very popular. There is a Wikipedia article about the series here: .

    You might be able to find out which episode this was (and when it aired) by using this episode guide:

    The first year of the show was re-edited down to 30 hours for release on DVD in early 2013. This article ( ) mentions that it had English subtitles and was released in India. However, I see that the all-encompassing Internet retailer named after a South American river has an all-region set available. One of the reviewers there lists some of the missing scenes left out by the edit.

    If I were a fan, I think I’d want the entire thing. But if the show airs every weeknight, I can imagine how massive such a boxed set would be.

  10. 13

    Another non-Bollywood expert, but the top of the video says, “Mahisasur Mardini Stotram – Jai Mata Ki”. Jai Mata Ki (or Jai Mata Di) is a Bollywood movie, full name Jai Mata Di (or Ki)–Aastha Ki Shakti. There’s also a TV series called Jai Mata Ki and the episodes are available on YouTube. All I can find on the movie and series is that they’re both dramas dealing with Hindi mythology.

    Mahisasur Mardini Stotram is a singer (or a musical group) that’s doing the music overlaying the clip.

  11. 14

    Many Indian get their first lessons in hindu Mythology from this series of AMar Chitra Katha illustrated stories or comics. Here is the Durga- Slayer of Mahisha Amar chitra Katha. It will give you the basic story:


    Or you cna buy it on Amazon:

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